book-review_-the-shiningStephen King
Doubleday
1977

Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.

The Overlook Hotel claimed the most beautiful physical setting of any resort in the world; but Jack Torrance, the new winter caretaker, with his wife, Wendy and their five-year-old son Danny, saw much more than its splendor. Jack saw the Overlook as an opportunity, a desperate way back from failure and despair; Wendy saw this lonely sanctuary as a frail chance to preserve their family; and Danny?….Danny, who was blessed or cursed with a shining, precognitive gift, saw visions hideously beyond the comprehension of a small boy. He sensed the evil coiled within the Overlook’s one hundred and ten empty rooms; an evil that was waiting just for them.

It was reading this book here, The Shining, that solidified my standing as a bonafide Stephen King fan. His third released novel is now such a cultural icon that you don’t have to have read it to reference it. Although, really? You should read it.

In case you really have no idea what the story is, it is thus: An alcoholic writer takes his wife and young son to the Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado to be live-in caretakers for the winter months while it’s closed for the season. Only, unbeknown to them, this is the 1970s, so there’s NO WIFI INTERNET!!!! Oh, and also the Overlook is haunted by the ghosts of past visitors, and the writer’s kid could see dead people long before Shyamalan made it cool. So now they’re all stuck in a very remote area, cut off from the world, inside a haunted hotel. With no Internets. Wackiness ensues.

Yeah, yeah, I know that was a rather glossed-over summary of the book. Really, I want to urge you to read The Shining if you haven’t done so already. I was all of 15 when I read it, and this was one of the first novels I found myself not wanting to put down for whatever reason. Eating, sleeping, bathing. That kind of thing. The reason being that the story really got under my skin like no other ghost story had since I first discovered the medium.

You may also note that I haven’t really touched on comparing this with the movie; to do so would to be comparing apples to oranges. If you’ve only seen the movie, good grief, read the book. It’s a whole different experience. And I’m a fan of the movie as well.

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